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      06-24-2021, 07:00 AM   #1
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X7 Road Trip: Wilderness, Glaciers, Mountains and Bugs

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Doing another road trip! This one is a summer follow-up to my massive journal I did a couple months ago documenting my PCD experience with my new 2021 X7 M50i, and cross-continent road trip from the South Carolina BMW Performance Center all the way back to Alaska. There's 24 pages of pictures, fun, and videos across the entire USA there. That previous road trip journal can be found here:
https://g07.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1803710

If this next trip has a theme title, it'd be something like "Wilderness, glaciers, mountains, and bugs." Decided I was going to use the summer solstice, and nice Alaska summer, to do an inner-Alaska road trip and see some places I've been wanting to get to. This one's to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and the city of Valdez, in eastern Alaska.

Alaska's a massive state, spanning about the lower 48 when superimposed, as you see here. Florida all the way to California, including the state's Aleutian Island chain. So it takes quite some effort to see the whole state over years and years, and even smaller trips like this one takes days, just to get places. (as I said in my previous road trip journal, Alaska's more than twice as big as Texas. Three times as big at low tide!)

This trip went deep into the wilderness, with at least half of it off-grid and out of cell and internet coverage, so these trip posts will be delayed several days from real time.








Day 1 was to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. I'll talk more about the park over the next few days, but WRST (as it is abbreviated in the Department of the Interior) is by far the largest national park and preserve in the United States. Bigger than 9 states, and so big that 6 Yellowstone parks could fit inside it. Just getting there is a trip itself, and I would only scratch the surface.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrange...k_and_Preserve

As before, trip starts from home, but this time in my new X7.





The drive east is rather beautiful, along a mountain range with lots of scenery, along the one solitary eastern Alaskan Highway.

Unfortunately, there were lots of clouds through the trip, and periodic rain, which put a damper on some of the pictures. I guess I'll just have to go back sometime for clear blue skies pictures. But in the meantime, I'll bombard you with a ton of what I got.

Eklutna Lake is just north of Anchorage.





Highway 1 (there's only a total of 10 in Alaska... imagine if there were only 10 highways in the entire eastern half of the contiguous 48 states) once it turns east, is a mixture of fun turns through highways and canyons, running along rivers, and some long straight stretches.

















The Matanuska Glacier is visible from the highway, and can readily be hiked up to.











Very small settlements, or semi-abandoned buildings pop up periodically along the highway, like this:





Alaska has the highest population of licensed pilots, per capita, of any state. Realistically, this just makes sense since a vast portion of Alaska just isn't accessible by road, and unless it's near a coast, you have to fly and/or hike deep into the bush to get there. There's tons of little airstrips like this all over the state, in addition to landing on lakes, glaciers, or ice floes out in the wilderness.

This strip has very typical Alaskan planes parked, too.








Glenallen is the last semi-significant town of any size, before the wilderness and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. It at least has a small grocery and a Radio Shack. (I thought those had gone out of business)

Several buildings like this:





Also the last significant gas station before the wilderness. There would be another pump or two before entering the park, but this seemed to be my last chance to get reliable Premium Unleaded gas for a few hundred miles. Filled up to be prepared.





On the edge of Glenallen, Highway 1 tees off. Turn right to take Highway 4 down south to the coast. Turn left to head northeast into Canada.





For what it's worth, the Ahtna are the native Alaskan tribe in this region of Alaska. There are 231 federally recognized native tribes just in Alaska today!!!








Just wish this picture was straight. I might have to get some picture editing software that can do stuff like that.

Just after turning off Highway 4 to head back east towards WRST park.











In the largest national park, bigger than 9 US states, there are only two--count em, two--roads. And even those two roads only go partway into the park. That means the overwhelming majority of the park is true untraversed wilderness. I took the longer of the two, McCarthy Road.

McCarthy Road starts at the tiny village of Chitina (pronounced Chit-nah). This is the last little store before entering the park. I got an extra last minute compulsion to be safe with extra food, and picked up a pack of hot dogs that could be heated up over a campfire.








And then it was the start of McCarthy Road, which deserves some description. McCarthy Road, like Alaska, can best be summed up in one word as "Rugged". The Road is 60 miles long, largely unpaved. Dirt, sometimes gravel. Only partially maintained, and only in the summertime. It takes 2-3 hours to drive the road each way.

The road is built on top of the train tracks that went to the village of McCarthy, just pushing dirt on top of the tracks, which poke up periodically after a winter freeze/thaw cycle and summer rain. It's not for the everyday driver, with several warnings on the park website.

Most Anchorage rental car companies even prohibit renters from taking their cars onto McCarthy Road.





So the first topic for consideration, in trip planning, was whether to even take the X7 on the road. I can see two definite reactions to the idea from X7 owners. The first one would be "Are you crazy? Take my pristine new $100k+ baby through that junk? There's no way!"

The other camp would say "Seriously? You won't even take your powerful AWD SUV on a gravel road? What kind of fragile snowflake car do you drive?"

I thought about it, and decided, hell with it, I'm going for it. This is what the X7 is designed to do. I got the front end and lower rockers wrapped with PPF right from the factory, and the mud flaps have proven to be most functional. I'm probably not even going to take it offroad as much as we did at the BMW Performance Center, although that was a controlled and rather clean course.

There were more warning signs like this, that made me more nervous, but I pressed on.





Just inside the rock gates, there was a sight of typical Alaskans enjoying typical Alaskan recreation staples--camping, boating, fishing, and 4-wheeling. Only thing you're missing there is the hunting.





Looking off the side of the road, readily visible remnants of the train tracks the road was built upon.























I reserved a cabin at a spot halfway down the 60 mile road. Even still, it took me an hour and a half to do 30 miles of the road, including a few pictures.

That's plenty of pictures for the day, so I'll talk about the lodge with tomorrow's continued adventure.





The nose reflected the strong bug population in Alaska summers.

More trip to come.


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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
Wilderness road trip journal to Eastern Alaska in this thread
And road trip journal to Denali and the Arctic Circle here in this thread!

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      06-24-2021, 07:33 AM   #2
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Beautiful country every direction you look. Thanks again for sharing.
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      06-24-2021, 01:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for taking us along on your new adventure. Beautiful pictures!
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      06-25-2021, 07:33 AM   #4
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Day 2 of the Alaska WRST road trip.

Chill day, sleeping in at the cabin, then going the rest of the way down McCarthy Road to explore the villages of McCarthy and Kennecott, and back to the cabin. That line on the right side of the map is the Canadian border.

I booked a cabin at the Wrangell Mountain Lodge, halfway down the McCarthy Road into the park wilderness to McCarthy. The "Lodge" is a group of 4 small, personal cabins run by James and his wife Christina, far, far off grid.

People don't readily grasp how remote the wilderness can be, 60 miles away from any electrical grid, from internet, from gasoline, food supplies, or even a telephone or cell service to call for help if you get in a scrap. Any water is pumped from a well, and bathrooms are considered "upscale" if not an outhouse.

There's no car services, and depending on the spot, you can sometimes go for hours between seeing another human being, or car on the road. Great if you want solitude. Not good if you ever need help. Preparation is the name of the game.





James and Christina actually live in the house there on the right year round. Here in the wilderness, temperatures can get down to -30 or even -50 Fahrenheit in the winter. And with McCarthy road not maintained, they're locked into their house for the season. Summer is much better, opening up the cabins to visitors/tourists like me. Electricity comes from multiple solar panels and batteries, augmented when needed with a diesel generator.

They serve a lovely full breakfast for guests in the roadhouse shed on the left there.








I stayed in Bear cabin, a sweet little log cabin built with materials locally sourced in the park area. James took that bear hide himself.














Last night, upon arriving, I sat out on the cabin's porch for the evening. Bear are a real concern, so food has to be make sure it's kept locked away where they're not a temptation.

But the most steadily present "attack threat" are the Alaskan unofficial state bird, the mosquito. (real state bird - Ptarmagin). Mosquitos are a royal pain in the ass, constantly swarming and attacking.

Lighting an anti-mosquito candle on the porch, and liberally using bug spray, made most of them go away. But even still, they're constantly hovering, buzzing in your ear, and biting, so this electric fly swatter is like gold.

Picture taken at 11 PM at night--we're at the 24 hours of daylight part of the year.





Day 2 started off with steady rain and low clouds, making pictures not as good, and turning the dirt McCarthy Road into mush in some spots.

Here, you can see some of the old railroad ties underneath the road poking up. They say a railroad spike can occasionally pop up and take out tires, but that must be extraordinarily rare.





Down the road, an old railroad trestle is visible that supported the mines.








McCarthy Road dead-ends. From here, travelers can park and walk across a pedestrian-only bridge.





My poor X7 was looking beyond gross from the road and weather. And this far off the grid, there was no way to wash her. I'd have to wait a couple days until I was out of the park to do anything.








After the foot bridge, it's a 1/2 mile walk, with occasional shuttle vans taking people into the village of McCarthy.

Back in the copper boom in the early 20th century, Kennecott was one of the most productive mine camps. 5 miles from the mine, the village of McCarthy was where the miners would go for their "recreation" of drinking, gambling, and visiting ladies of the night.

Although the mine is inactive today, locals say the activities of McCarthy are still the same today, but seasonally for outside visitors. Only running in the summer, with dozens of locals and workers, only a couple caretakers stay through the winter to make sure nothing important freezes up, or burns down. (aka The Shining)





Ma Johnson's hotel is a classic mainstay there, still running and keeping its old charm.








The Golden Saloon is said to be where all the fun happens, still serving drinks, and playing music some nights.





This is a car forum, after all. A few old school vehicles of various types are still around the village.











At the end of town is the old train station, which is now a neat little museum. Industrial equipment of various types like this litter the two towns.





Visitors can either walk, or pay for a shuttle ride up a pretty rutted-out road, to Kennecott, the site of the old copper mine camp.





Kennecott was a camp of very successful copper mines, rich with resources. Eventually the copper started to run out, and some of the mines started closing. But the final end came as a surprise in 1938.

The bottom dropped out of the copper market, and one day when a train showed up to the camp, they declared that the camp was closed, the train would be the last one out, and everybody had to leave. Miners, staff, families, everybody had to grab their stuff and go.

As a result, the mine was abandoned in a rather astonishing intact state. Parts fell into disrepair over the years, but has been partially restored as a historical site, and visitors can see a lot of mining items and industrial equipment left in their original state.





These buildings are fairly representative of mining camps found around Alaska.

















I thought these feed chutes were pretty cool, sending various material straight into the train cars.





A modern "Yurt", used as a residence by seasonal workers at Kennecott. Several companies offer helicopter rides into the park and onto the glacier, hiking, glacier climbing, aircraft rides, etc.





Here you can see the tail of what is the confluence of two glaciers. That dirt is caught up in the ice, continuously moving and carving up the landscape. If you look to the far right, you can see one of the glaciers up in the mountain valley. Unfortunately, I didn't have time (or the ability) to hike the glacier itself.





After a shuttle ride back down to McCarthy, I had a great dinner at "The Potato". It used to be a food truck, but the chef is very good, and with great popularity, they built their own restaurant. Reportedly, workers live on the top floor, with the restaurant down below.





In the back of this picture, you can see my beloved Akubra hat (Australian) and Leki trekking poles (German). They make a day hike or other adventure quite nice, and are the best at what each do.





That's a Wildcraft cider from Eugene, Oregon, almond crusted halibut (an Alaskan staple), and the Potato's signature mac and cheese.

So yummy, and something you wouldn't expect way out in the Alaskan wilderness. Very good.





By the time I was done with dinner, I had missed the last shuttle of the day back to the footbridge, so I got to work off dinner with a nice walk back. Thankfully, the rain earlier in the day had stopped, with much nicer weather.

For whatever reason, I'm not seeing a lot of wildlife on the trip. Supposedly, early in the summer like this, animals will head up to higher elevations to eat food that has thawed out from the winter, and foliage that has started to blossom there.

But I did see this fox, which suddenly trotted by me with dinner in its mouth. By the time I pulled my camera out, it had trotted onto the McCarthy airstrip.





Back to my (dirty) car, weather had cleared enough to see the two glaciers peeking out on each side of the mountain in the background. Then, it was another 1.3 hour and 32 mile drive back down McCarthy Road, back to the cabin for the night.

More tomorrow!


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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
Wilderness road trip journal to Eastern Alaska in this thread
And road trip journal to Denali and the Arctic Circle here in this thread!
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      06-27-2021, 01:36 AM   #5
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Day 3 of the wilderness road trip. From my lodge near McCarthy, a drive out of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, to the coastal town of Valdez, Alaska.

The day started wet and rainy again, which again made for muddy and poor road conditions, and a TON of mosquitos. It's pointless even to try and keep them out, while getting in the vehicle. The little buggers buzz around the inside of the car. Driving with the windows down does blow them out sometimes, but remnants still buzz around the cabin.

The electric fly swatter can do the trick, but it's awkward and comical, waving it inside the cabin and making sure not to leave smudges anywhere. The "ZAP" is satisfying, but then leaves a trace burnt aroma, that mixes with the new car smell. Makes me again wish BMW hadn't removed the Ambient Air order option.

For an extra measure of safety on the rugged dirt and gravel road, I raised the X7 suspension height. Note that the highest setting only stays at the lowest speeds (below 18 mph if I remember right), but even the next highest gives just a bit more clearance.





These pretty flowers are all alongside the road. I don't know what the blue ones are, but the red/purple ones are fireweed, a grass weed that's all over the state. Some fields are solid bright red with it. Very pretty.








Once off the rugged McCarthy Road and back onto luxurious pavement, I took a few pictures back at the gateway village of Chitina.














Then a drive back west, and it was time for a left turn to rejoin Richardson Highway 4 south to Valdez.





This is a really pretty drive, full of mountains, rivers, glaciers, and more.





Driving to Valdez, you can periodically catch glimpses of the Alaskan oil pipeline, along the highway. You have to look hard, though, as the eye is naturally drawn to the vast beautiful landscape.





The pipeline runs from Prudhoe Bay at the northern reaches of Alaska, down to the port of Valdez, where it is held in vast storage containers, before loaded onto oil tankers to take south.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-...ipeline_System

One interesting factoid is those little trestles that the pipeline runs on have heat dissipators on them. It's not to protect the oil inside, but rather to prevent the pipeline from heating up and potentially melting the permafrost in the ground. (which is mostly farther north from here)














Another glacier, approaching Thompson pass.





Then, climbing up to Thompson pass, I got into the clouds, and things unfortunately got foggy, just where the most majestic views would have been.








Arriving in Valdez, the first order of business was to find a manual car wash. I must have spent $40 and a good hour and a half or so, hosing the filth off the car, so I could go back out and take some nice pictures.





There's a nice visitor's center in Valdez. Most of their recommendations of things to do center around outdoor recreation, like hiking, fishing, glacier ice climbing, or boating.








And this is VERY Alaskan, especially the further you get out into the bush. Not only riding your ATV to the grocery store, but this dude even had the balls to park it in the handicapped parking spot.





Then it was back up the highway a bit into the Keystone Canyon, to take pictures with a clean car and waterfalls.











Hikers climb this big one, Bridal Veil Falls, in the winter as an ice climb.





The gulf at Valdez:











There's several microbreweries around Alaska, as locals love to do their own thing up here. I swung through one while working up an appetite for dinner.











I tried the P.O.G. (Passion Orange Guava) Whit. And I collect shot glasses from my travels all around the world, so I picked up a small taster glass as well:





On a recommendation, I went down to the docks and went to the "Fat Mermaid" for dinner. If nothing else, I liked the restaurant name.





In port towns, I enjoy getting eatery recommendations from locals, and going down to the wharf. Then ordering whatever version of a seafood sampler platter they have, and sampling the local fare, even if I have to take some to go, for later.

Here, this is steamed shrimp, fried calamari, baked Alaska cod, and a red smoked salmon dip with chips. House cocktail. Fresh is always awesome, and this was simply delicious, in a beautiful setting.

Funny enough, the waiter came up to me and meekly asked "um... are you a celebrity?" I don't know if it was the car, or what. I'm just a normal guy. May be because there was a small theater convention in town. Gave me a laugh, though.





Now today, was the summer solstice. The longest day of the year, and my favorite day of the year, marking the epitome of what makes Alaska summers so awesome.

With such a late sunset, the sky stays light 24 hours a day. We're well south of the Arctic Circle in this part of Alaska here, so the sun does go down, but does so at an angle, dipping below the horizon for a few hours before coming up again. Light glow stays in the sky.

Alaskans will literally be out mowing our yards at midnight, playing golf, fishing, or whatever.





My hotel was nothing much to write home about. A bare-bones 2-star hotel. Tiny little room, exposed pipe along the ceiling, bathroom fan like a turbine engine. But it did its purpose for one night, especially being up late with the solstice.

Other hotels were either booked up, or far more expensive. Oh well. Again, good for one night.

Trip continues with more tomorrow!











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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
Wilderness road trip journal to Eastern Alaska in this thread
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      06-28-2021, 07:14 AM   #6
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I thoroughly enjoyed your photos as well as your narrative. You could put on one heck of a travel show on PBS. Very, very enjoyable. Thank you for taking the time to share with me.

Move over, Rick Steves!
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      06-28-2021, 07:17 AM   #7
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Amazing stuff!!! Thank you for taking the time to document and share this with us!!!
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      06-28-2021, 07:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joemac8 View Post
I thoroughly enjoyed your photos as well as your narrative. You could put on one heck of a travel show on PBS. Very, very enjoyable. Thank you for taking the time to share with me.

Move over, Rick Steves!
Much thanks. Rick Steves has got the know all around Europe. (I've done a tour of his in Ireland and thoroughly enjoyed it). But come to Alaska, and I'll show you other stuff that'll blow you away!
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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
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Last edited by Wild Blue; 06-28-2021 at 07:52 AM..
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      06-28-2021, 08:08 AM   #9
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Enjoyable read. Thank you for posting!
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      06-28-2021, 08:17 AM   #10
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Just came back from another trip myself in the m50. Fine automobile. Do you have high res photos of the X on the lake; there is also a sign in the photo.
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      06-28-2021, 08:27 AM   #11
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Amazing!! Didn't realize how big Alaska actually is until i saw that picture of Alaska over the rest of the states.
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      06-28-2021, 08:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clutchdj View Post
Just came back from another trip myself in the m50. Fine automobile. Do you have high res photos of the X on the lake; there is also a sign in the photo.
I do indeed have the originals of all the pictures in this road trip, and the PCD/cross-continent trip.

Are you talking about this one? This is the small lake in Chitina, at the start of McCarthy Road, on my way out of the park. Filthy X7, lol.


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      06-28-2021, 08:55 AM   #13
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Thanks for posting your travel logs. I'm learning a lot about Alaska and I always appreciate the road less traveled.
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      06-28-2021, 09:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Thanks for posting your travel logs. I'm learning a lot about Alaska and I always appreciate the road less traveled.
We do get a rare AT-AT sighting here in winter.
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      06-28-2021, 09:27 AM   #15
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Spectacular. Alaska is one beeyootiful state.
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      06-28-2021, 09:42 AM   #16
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Wow!! Nice right up and looks amazing!! Enjoy in good health!
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      06-28-2021, 10:14 AM   #17
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Spectacular! Enjoyed reading this on a cloud Monday morning. Looking forward to more.
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      06-28-2021, 11:07 AM   #18
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Day 4: Valdez, return home

I slept in, enjoying the relaxing trip. In the middle of summers and winters, your sleep schedule can be thrown off by the abnormal light in the day. For summers, blackout curtains are key for sleeping. Alaskans get used to it, but visitors often get wayyyyy out of whack, seeing light way into the "night time".

After a (very) late breakfast and drive around the area with an unfruitful search for wildlife (again--pretty unusual for Alaska, not to see abundant wildlife around), I moseyed over to the Valdez Museum, which had some really interesting parts.





Right outside, there was this weird thing, that I wasn't sure whether it was art, or what. Only after reading the sign did I realize it's a cleaning tool that shoots down the Alaska pipeline.








Optic glass structure from the lighthouse:





Couple of old school fire trucks/carts from the original Valdez town, pre-earthquake.








Example exhibit of what a cabin would have looked like in the original western settler days.





If you ever thought you had it bad, getting your car stuck in the mud in a rough road, imagine taking an old school car through barely roughed-in trails halfway across Alaska wilderness, lol!





I found this both fascinating and really cool. An old-school wood crafted bar, that was the center of town night life. Bar was converted to a soda dispenser during prohibition, and then re-covered with a copper plate afterwards and went back to booze.

Once the great Alaskan earthquake hit, the saloon was irreparable, and the bar never used again. Awesome legacy piece.








The great Alaska earthquake of 1964 is included in any discussion of Alaskan history. 9.2 on the Richter scale, and 2nd largest earthquake ever recorded on the planet. You can read the rest of the signs in the pictures.

Earthquake and accompanying tsunami was beyond massive, destroying all sorts of infrastructure in south central Alaska, including both Anchorage and Valdez.

Valdez was pretty much literally wiped off the map. The community decided to demolish and burn the entire city afterwards, and moved the whole town of Valdez several miles down the road, to its current location.

The earthquake is still talked about with reverance across Alaska, mixed with a little bit of fear for the potential that we could get another big one again.








Aaaaaand then there's the Exxon Valdez, which you can't visit the town of Valdez without broaching the subject. Ironic that the tanker's name actually bore the name of the city, near the shores of which it would eventually run aground and rupture, causing the oil spill.

What an unmitigated goat rope disaster. Ugh... I remember being a kid and watching this on the news.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill

Today, the Alaska coast has mostly recovered, but if you dig on the shores of the worst hit spots, the dirt still contains oil.

The fishing industry is strong and thriving in Alaska.





And then it was time to drive back home, but I had to fill up with gas before leaving. You might think that in one of the places in the world with the most oil, gas would be cheap, but... no. We don't have any refineries in Alaska, so all the crude oil has to be tankered all the way down to the lower 48 to be refined, and then shipped all the way back up as gasoline.

Rather silly, but with the small population market up here, I'm sure it's just not economically profitable to refine here as well.

Now, Valdez prices really aren't that bad, and for being a much smaller community than Anchorage, prices are only maybe $0.20 higher per gallon.

And I know, I know... no complaining here, because our European brothers here (and other places around the world) pay orders of magnitude much higher prices for petrol than we Yanks. Even in Alaska, although way out in the Alaska bush, prices can get outrageous, where every bit of of gas has to be trucked, or even flown, into villages.

One thing i talked about in my cross-continent road trip thread, is the available gas octane in Alaska, a sad maximum of only 90. BMW recommends 91. Not really a big thing in winter, when cold temperatures don't require as much octane. Yes, even in hot summers, the ECU will retard ignition to prevent knocking and engine damage. But I don't want my car to have to kick in protective measures because I'm putting mediocre gas into the tank. I've been trying just a bit of Boostane supplement to tanks here in the middle of the summer, with good results so far.





Some neat remnants of the initial road and attempted rail line to Valdez, left alongside the Richardson Highway 4. Rival railroad companies would get into literal gun fights over who could build rail.














Still neat sights on the way back, traveling along the same roads, but heading in a different direction, and seeing different stuff.





Unfortunately, Thompson pass was cloudy again, going over the mountains. Blue skies started to peek out the farther north I drove, though.

















And on the way back, i stopped through the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Visitor's Center, since it was closed by the time I drove by at the start of the trip.





As I mentioned at the start of the trip, Wrangell St-Elias National Park and Preserve is difficult to describe just how massive and impressive it is. Here's just some of the superlative factoids:
  • By far the largest national park in the USA
  • Larger than 9 US states
  • 6 Yellowstone Parks could fit inside it, or more than 17 Yosemite Parks
  • 4 mountain ranges in the park
  • 70% of the park is wilderness
  • From the park's lowest point to its highest point, there's an 18,000 foot atitude difference
  • Nine of the 16 highest peaks in the United States are in the park, including the 2nd tallest of Mt. Elias. (tallest peak in North America is Denali, also in Alaska)
  • Glaciers cover 35% of the park
  • At 76 miles long, seven miles wide, and 600 feet tall, Hubbard Glacier is North America’s largest tidewater glacier, which is actually growing in size over time
  • Covering over 2,000 square miles, the Wrangell Volcanic Field is made up of thousands of lava flows and some of the highest peaks in North America, and includes Mount Wrangell, one of the largest (by volume) active volcanoes in the world.
  • Largest wilderness area in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • The Nabesna Glacier, at approximately 53 miles (85km), is the longest valley glacier in North America and the world's longest interior valley glacier.





A few displays in the visitor's center people might find interesting:











I stopped again in Glenallen on the way back, same town I filled up at before entering the WRST park on the way in. Decided to take a chance on this Thai shack.

Note: "Tok" is the first town of any significance you meet when entering Alaska from Canada on the eastern border. Positioned at the intersection of two highways, where you can either turn to go southwest to Anchorage, or West to Fairbanks. If not sure, it's a major decision that will greatly affect how your life proceeds from that point!





Getting out of the car, I had to pause for a moment to ponder my poor ugly legs that had been gnawed on by the great Alaskan mosquitos. Ugh.





had some pork Pad Thai. Actually pretty good, for the middle of Alaska!





And then back on the road for the remainder of the trip.








A good portion of the Alaska interior looks like this, with some melted marsh. If trying to hike or even 4-wheel cross country, it can slow you down immesurably.











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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
Wilderness road trip journal to Eastern Alaska in this thread
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      06-28-2021, 11:10 AM   #19
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I'll do some wrap-up thoughts a little later
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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
Wilderness road trip journal to Eastern Alaska in this thread
And road trip journal to Denali and the Arctic Circle here in this thread!
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      06-28-2021, 12:17 PM   #20
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Stunning scenery. Enjoyed reading every note in this travel journal. Thanks for sharing!
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      06-28-2021, 12:53 PM   #21
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Stumbled upon this and your delivery thread this morning. Thank you for sharing. This looks like a ton of fun and as a city boy, the pictures are truly breathtaking and something I don't see very often.
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      06-28-2021, 01:46 PM   #22
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Now you're just showing off! Great pictures, what camera are you using?
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